Trump Org fleeced Americans for $1.7 billion while in office: David Cay Johnston

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston has calculated how much money flowed through Donald Trump's businesses while serving as president — and has reached a startling total figure.

CNN's Brianna Keilar interviewed Johnston about his new book, The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family.

"A new book is pulling back the curtain on how much former President Trump enriched himself and his family while he was in office, finding that nearly $1.7 billion in revenue flowed through him and his organizations during his four years as commander-in-chief," Keilar reported.

She described the book as "the most complete picture we've seen of this."

"Tell us how much Donald Trump profited — and how you were able to get to this number," Keilar asked.

"Well, Donald Trump had to disclose his finances as president, all top federal officials do," Johnston replied. "Now, several of them filed very incomplete and misleading forms. Donald, in fact, asked through his lawyers if he could file financial disclosures without signing under penalty of perjury. He was told, no, you have to sign under penalty of perjury."

He explained that of the more than $1.7 billion in question, much of it came from taxpayers.

"Donald did everything he could to make sure the taxpayers were putting money into his businesses," he noted. "Hundreds of millions of dollars."

In addition to his business interests making money, Trump has also received large amounts of donations.

"You know, you also talk about it, just before the 2020 election and on his way out the door with stop the steal fundraising, he rakes in $500 million," Keilar noted. "He spends less than $9 million on lawyers, the rest of that money, he can use how?"

"Oh, he can spend it on himself," Johnston replied.

"I expect that once he is indicted in Manhattan and perhaps other jurisdictions, a lot of that money will go to criminal defense lawyers," he explained.

"Really fascinating," Keilar said.


David Cay Johnston